And my take on reading too much.
I often wonder if I’m reading too much. I’m subscribed to about 14 different email newsletters, which all fall into a handful of categories.
I find these updates to be helpful in daily life. The tech industry is constantly changing, and knowing what is/isn’t the next big thing makes for great conversion with my equally nerdy tech friends.
I’d also highly recommend venture publications to anyone that is looking for a job/internship. Companies that recently raised funding are probably looking to scale, and would be open to hearing how you can add value.
I find that many of these articles aren’t exactly ‘required’ reading, but they instead replace what I’d imagine I’d be reading before going to bed. Articles on the journey of immigrants, finding one’s passion, and fitting into a new environment are all relatable to me and keep me thinking about life.
Newsletters like First Round Review, Groove HQ, and other practice-specific publications help me get a better grasp on skills like digital marketing through in-depth case studies and extensive reports.
These are often incredible reads, but the trade-off is timing. First Round Review, for example, recently published a piece on how Zapier was able to scale its business while only having to raise a single funding round. There a lot of great caveats, but it’s definitely a solid 10–15 minute read.
But am I reading too much?
I like to think I’m pretty prepared through my diverse subscriptions, but I often wonder: am I reading too much? More specifically, I tend to wonder how I’m applying the information I absorb. For fear of simply skimming emails from my ‘Deep Dive’ category (which most subscriptions fall into), I archive them for future reading. It hasn’t worked out too well…
I am a huge fan of Tomasz Tunguz and Avinash Kaushik, but performance pricing for SaaS companies and the limits of machine learning may not appear immediately applicable for a 2nd year university student.
But does that mean that I shouldn’t be reading it? Not at all; in fact there may be a time in the (near) future where I might find a piece on SaaS pricing very useful. However how do I determine if it’s worth reading now?
My approach has been two-fold:
When looking at an article, I tend to quickly evaluate it based on three criteria: short, similar, and soon.
- Short: could I consume this piece of content within 5 minutes?
- Similar: is this piece relevant to my immediate interests?
- Soon: can I apply what I learn in the next week?
If it passes all three criteria, then it is probably worth a read. Most newsletters from my ‘Quick News’ category can be consumed in 1–2 minutes, revolves around my interests, and is applicable to daily conversation and/or worthy of a tweet, so they generally pass.
In contrast, many pieces from my ‘Deep Dives’ category are often archived since they are either (1) too long (2) very niche or (3) not applicable to my current situation. I make a point of revisiting my ‘Read Next’ folder every few weeks to see if anything jumps out, but generally I see the folder as more of a ‘Future Content’ grouping than ‘Read Next’.
#2: Curated Content
It took me a while to get a handle on what newsletters were relevant to me, as a student interested in tech and marketing, and I can imagine it would be the same for others.
So I decided to start a bi-weekly collection of articles that pass the criteria and would be helpful to people like me. I’ll link the article, give a short summary, and state how it’s applicable.
Think you'd be interested? Drop your email below and I'll add you to the list!